Private Islands for Sale, 2012

No man is an island, wrote poet John Donne.

No man is an island, wrote poet John Donne. But what man -- or woman -- hasn’t dreamed of owning one?

The allure of owning an island recently captured the imagination of one well-known billionaire. In June, Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle and the third-richest American, bought 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai in a deal valued at more than $500 million. With a population of 3,000 people, Lanai isn’t exactly a private retreat. But this shouldn’t be a problem for Ellison, who owns properties in Malibu, Lake Tahoe, Newport, R.I., and Kyoto, Japan, among other locales.

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David Marten